Day 9: Killarney to Ballybunion

Sunday July 20, 2008, 97 km (60 miles) – Total so far: 701 km (436 miles)

It was a wet start to the day, with some light rain falling as we packed up. Fortunately, it stopped once we hit the road and we enjoyed the usual sunny/cloudy mix for the rest of the day.

The morning saw us climb over the Slieve Mish Mountains. A steep, punishing climb of around 4km, rising from sea level to over 300m. The views at the top were well worth the effort as was the descent into Tralee, where we lunched on fried chicken and potato wedges.

We then followed the road north the Ballyheige and turned onto the coast road around Kerry Head. Where we enjoyed a headwind on the way out and tailwind on the way back in. Carrying on north we arrived in Ballybunion and sought the campsite – no luck!

We circled around the small seaside town in vain and found ourselves outside the Garda Station. Agata went in to seek assistance. With the help of a friendly policewoman, we were able to establish that the campsites in town were all for static holiday homes, with no camping allowed. As luck would have it though, she knew the proprietor of the shop opposite which had some en-suite rooms and was able to negotiate a handsome discount.

We ventured into town for dinner and finished the night enjoying some beers and music in one of the bars on the main street. The flyer on the table told us that tonight’s act was ‘Shane & Bongo John’ – we didn’t hold out much hope. However, we were very pleasantly surprised when the talented duo started churning out some pretty good cover versions by the likes of Paul Weller, Damian Rice, and David Gray etc.

Today was a day of being chased by dogs. Most were no problem, just accelerate to a bit faster than them and they’d normally lose interest after a short while. There was one though, towards the end of the day, which had Justin and me (Darren) counting our blessings. We were coming down the main road at around 25 kph when we both saw it. A giant Alsatian chained to a stake, it saw us and started running. When it ran out of chain it stopped suddenly and its body spun around 180 degrees. We smirked at this, and then all of a sudden it was free and running again – straight for us. We were off, the hammer went straight down and in no time at all we were flying along at over 50 kph. We looked back after a kilometre of hard sprinting and thankfully the Devil dog had disappeared. Justin quipped we could out sprint Mark Cavendish, even fully loaded if we were being chased by a pack of rabid hounds.

Agata climbing the Slieve Mish Mountains

Agata climbing the Slieve Mish Mountains

The views from the top were breathtaking

The views from the top were breathtaking

Castlemaine Harbour from Slieve Mish

Castlemaine Harbour from Slieve Mish

We stopped to check out Ardfert Cathedral (Irish: Ardeaglais Ard Fhearta). It's built on the site of a monastery founded in the 6th century by St. Brendan the Navigator.

We stopped to check out Ardfert Cathedral (Irish: Ardeaglais Ard Fhearta). It’s built on the site of a monastery founded in the 6th century by St. Brendan the Navigator.

Seafront houses in the evening sunlight

Seafront houses in the evening sunlight

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *